On first glance, VMware’s acquisition of the desktop collaboration suite Zimbra — which it is buying from Yahoo! — does not seem to have much to do with the company’s emerging cloud computing strategy. However, VMWare CTO Steve Herrod explains otherwise.
In his blog post, Herrod writes that the acquisition of Zimbra is all about adding onto to its successful IaaS offering, vCloud, which has a solid base of over 1,000 customers. vCloud is offered to resellers, who provide it as hosted IaaS under the name vCloud Express (for example, Bluelock and Terremark). And it is also sold directly to corporations who can host their own cloud with vCloud API on internally managed servers.
With the Zimbra acquisition, VMware broadens the list of services it can offer both resellers and corporations. Zimbra’s suite includes SaaS applications for managing email and collaboration.
Perhaps more importantly, because Zimbra has over 55 million desktop installations, it will provide entree for VMware’s sales staff to sign on more coporate customers.